TEHRAN –(Iranart)- MP Tayyebeh Siavashi who is also a member of the Majlis Cultural Committee has criticized the motto of the 31st Tehran International Book Fair.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which is the main organizer of the event, has chosen the motto “No to Not Reading Books” this year.
“Why should we use two negative words in this motto? What’s the matter with a motto like ‘let’s read a book’ that we use that unattractive motto,” Siavashi told the Persian service of IRNA on Monday.
She noted that using negative language in the cultural arena is not practicable anymore and added, “Mottos like what was chosen for this year’s book fair cannot promote book reading.”
In a comment published on Persian news media on Tuesday, Iranian Academy of Sciences director Reza Davari Ardakani approved the motto and said that it is a protest against those people who do not engage in reading books.
Every year, the organizers of the book fair publish reports on the number of visitors to the book fair and the large amount of money the publishers earn from bookselling during the event to boast of their success.
They argue that organizing the book fair, which is a large bookshop rather than a professional trade fair for books, could cause an increase in the rate of book reading nationwide.
“The book fair is an important cultural event but it cannot necessarily cause people to read more,” Siavashi lamented and said that people’s visit to the book fair cannot lead them to reading books.
She viewed the government’s restricted control over books and the high price of books as main factors causing the people’s reluctance toward reading.
A marked increase in the price of paper in the country has caused a massive rise in the price of publications over that past few years. Consequently, publishers have had to raise prices.
Gholamhossein Salemi, a professional Iranian translator who has rendered books by Yukio Mishima, William Kennedy, Frederick Forsyth and many other bestselling authors into Persian, has said that it’s right for people not to show an interest in reading books.
He said that the price of books has gone up by 50 percent, therefore there are no buyers at bookstores.
“Nothing would happen if people do not read, but they would die if they do not eat food,” he lamented.
He said that the revenue receipts at the fast food shops set up at the book fair have been much higher than the sums the five major Iranian publishers have earned at the fair.
“The people show more interest in a sandwich than in a book,” Salemi lamented.